I love childbirth! And yes, I do get some pretty shocked reactions when I say that out loud! I love the science behind labour. I love the psychology behind labour. And guess what? I love giving birth. Why? Because I’m a hypnobirthing mummy. My hypnobirthing experiences have all been calm, relaxed, enjoyable and if I’m honest…rather exciting.

But do I want childbirth to be as long as possible? Yes I do! Or at least I did with my third child. The moment we calculated the due date, I knew I wanted a really long labour. I was willing this babies birth to be as long as possible!

Do you want a really short labour?

But long labour is not something you usually associate with hypnobirthing is it? If you think hypnobirthing is all about relaxing and nature speeding childbirth easily along, you are right. But as a seasoned hypnobirthing mummy & hypnobirthing teacher I also know that a mothers mindset & her expectations have their part to play in the way childbirth plays out.

I started reading a blog on Instagram last week. A blog entitled ‘My childbirth experience will blow your mind’ (or similar…) Great! I thought! Someone who can birth as well as me I thought! This will be lovely I thought! But it wasn’t. It was a rant. I shan’t say anymore because if you are pregnant its not the sort of thing that you need to know, because its all about mindset. How you think determines how you feel and how you feel determines the world around you. So anticipate the childbirth of your dreams!

How hypnobirthing can determine the length of labour

In the inimitable words of Katherine Graves ‘Where the mind leads, the body will follow’. So if you fear childbirth will be horrendous, believe all those horror stories out there and focus on childbirth being a nightmare, then guess what you are setting yourself up for?! You may not know that you love childbirth yet, but work with me &  focus on how good you want it to be and guess what?

It’s the same with the length of labour. Katherine Graves is bold enough to suggest that if you want labour to be 2 hours or 4 hours then that is what you are going to get. And from personal experience, I agree!

During the birth of my first child, I just wanted calm, dignity and no drugs. During my second child’s birth I wanted to up my game (my competitive streak coming out I’m afraid). I wanted ultimate relaxation, I wanted a fast birth and baby had to arrive whilst we had a baby sitter on hand. During my third child’s birth I wanted old style movie star grace, a lovely long (weekend) labour. And you guessed it…I got exactly I wanted…every time.

How to have a short labour

The first time you use hypnobirthing, it really is a leap of faith. Everyone tells you ‘hypnobirthing is wonderful!’ but you can’t test it out. You are told to practice, practice, practice (and I strongly recommend that you do) but it’s completely human to have some sort of doubt….Does hypnobirthing really work? When push comes to shove (no pun intended) will I be able to do hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing will be exactly what you want it to be. The more practice you put it, the closer to realising that expectation you become.

You can have whatever you want during childbirth. Because when you focus on what you want you are significantly more likely to achieve it. Of course, there are things you can’t control. You may want a waterbirth, a maternity unit birth, but like me, you may hit obstacles like the birthing pools all being occupied or the maternity unit being full to capacity. Despite any known or unexpected restrictions, you can still take control of your birth and make it your own. Exactly how you want it.

So…Third baby due just after Christmas, I wanted a long labour. Why? I wanted a long pregnancy. I wanted to enjoy and linger in my third glorious pregnancy and I wanted to enjoy and linger in my third glorious hypnobirth.  I wanted this to be the very best of my three hypnobirthing experiences. My second hypnobirth was going to be pretty difficult to beat, but I was determined. And not wanting my third child to be born too close to Christmas I wanted the birth day to be as far into January as possible. Once labour had started, I was even willing baby to hold off & get past midnight!

How to have a long labour and a fast childbirth!

There was another key factor that meant I wanted a really long labour.

My husband had ordered a camera phone. ‘No use taking my whacking big camera to the hospital’ he said. Leaving it just 3 weeks before the due date, he ordered his phone from a UK company – a fast delivery he reassured me. Sadly mind over matter doesn’t hold much weight with phone delivery times, especially over Christmas. The phone arrived just over 3 weeks later. 2 days before the birth in fact..another reason to will myself to go into post dates. It really was a case of ‘My phones arrived dear…you can have baby any time you want now dear..’

My third hypnobirth was gorgeous (just like my first two!). But I finally got my dream of a waterbirth. Third time lucky.

How to have the childbirth you want

Your focus in the lead up to your baby’s birth is a crucial factor in how your birth will play out. The way you think and feel about labour should never be underestimated. Shut out the negative nellies, the ones with horror stories & listen to the mothers out there who love childbirth. Listen to the hypnobirthing mummys, the hypnobirthing daddys and of course all of us hypnobirthing teachers. We are a growing tribe and we’re a tribe worth joining.